Friday, December 30, 2005


Some peopel have beencomplaining about how Speilburg's new movie seems to make hte israelis look god and the palistinians look bad (I expect the israelis say hte opposite) but I see this as people just admiting their own gullibility.

But You can take what you want from what the world presents you.

A movie will always tend to paint the subjects as fairly human because we tend to support the people we understand and we tend to understand the subjects - just like lord of the rings would be different if we were to follow a elephant rider trying to support his family or king Kong would be different if we had focused on the people king Kong kept squishing as opposed to his eyes.

It shows a certain gullibility to be fooled by this and to think that you should support the side that has a human face - because the other side has one too but the movie shouldn't have to show that because it is obvious. (on a depressive note - Maybe humans are gulable....)

Similarly there is no need to have a problem with the following

The question is asked - “why do “we” call Israeli terrorists commandos, and we call Palestinian commandos terrorists?”

Those who think Israeli terrorists are not commandos probably don’t like commandos anyway. What they want to do is equate terrorists and commandos in the minds of others - or better yet swap the connotations.

In the minds of another side Israelis are right and Palestinians are wrong so they take the opposite position for the same sort of reasons.

But this is a battle detached from reality because commandos and terrorists have definitions and these are understood by those unattached to the debate, a dstinction that only becomes meaningless to those with vested interests.

A commando is an agent of the state like a police man or a soldier for the interests of their state generally to secure its boarders and create some sort of order - someone who may well be hated but is in a sense predictable and not an immediate cause for fear for ordinary civilians in most countries.

A terrorist is someone who acts on faith generally as part of a small group for some ideal that may never have been sound enough to gain power in a country - they are challengers to stability and see harm as a strategy for achieving very indirect aims. They are very hard to predict and understand and thy have nothing to lose unlike the agents of hte state who have at very least their state itself. Thus are something that could be dangerous to a random person from another country.

Swapping the worlds would only temporarily change the definitions and it would only achieve that via deception and confusion.


Some peopel have beencomplaining about how Speilburg's new movie seems to make hte israelis look god and the palistinians look bad (I expect the israelis say hte opposite) but I see this as people just admiting their own gullibility.

But You can take what you want from what the world presents you.

A movie will always tend to paint the subjects as fairly human because we tend to support the people we understand and we tend to understand the subjects - just like lord of the rings would be different if we were to follow a elephant rider trying to support his family or king Kong would be different if we had focused on the people king Kong kept squishing as opposed to his eyes.

It shows a certain gullibility to be fooled by this and to think that you should support the side that has a human face - because the other side has one too but the movie shouldn't have to show that because it is obvious. (on a depressive note - Maybe humans are gulable....)

Similarly there is no need to have a problem with the following

The question is asked - “why do “we” call Israeli terrorists commandos, and we call Palestinian commandos terrorists?”

Those who think Israeli terrorists are not commandos probably don’t like commandos anyway. What they want to do is equate terrorists and commandos in the minds of others - or better yet swap the connotations.

In the minds of another side Israelis are right and Palestinians are wrong so they take the opposite position for the same sort of reasons.

But this is a battle detached from reality because commandos and terrorists have definitions and these are understood by those unattached to the debate, a dstinction that only becomes meaningless to those with vested interests.

A commando is an agent of the state like a police man or a soldier for the interests of their state generally to secure its boarders and create some sort of order - someone who may well be hated but is in a sense predictable and not an immediate cause for fear for ordinary civilians in most countries.

A terrorist is someone who acts on faith generally as part of a small group for some ideal that may never have been sound enough to gain power in a country - they are challengers to stability and see harm as a strategy for achieving very indirect aims. They are very hard to predict and understand and thy have nothing to lose unlike the agents of hte state who have at very least their state itself. Thus are something that could be dangerous to a random person from another country.

Swapping the worlds would only temporarily change the definitions and it would only achieve that via deception and confusion.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


There is somthing seriously wrong with our immigration policy.
The reason I say this is that I know quite a few business women in auckland who run businesses where they get imigrants from overseas and bring them into NZ. they tell the government that they will pay them lets say 50k per year (or whatever it is that is the minimum NZ requires) they then pay these people about $400 a week (no tax deducted or paid) for about 65 or so hours of work plus arranging for them to have rent in a room with maybe 4 or 5 other people.

There are a couple of problems here
1) how is it that it is so well known that they are doing this and yet they dont get shut down straight away?
2) how is it that when they do get shut down they restart in jsut a little while I understand at least one of these peopel has been caught a number of times for illegal immigration and not paying tax and so forth.

The bottom line seems to be that they in theory make several hundred thousand dollars a year from this scheme. Surely when they get caught they should be fined several times what they cheated everyone out of (to pay the employees and the tax department and a deterant charge (for example if you only catch half of them you must have at least 2 times penalties to be deterant). And if that is the case you would run a god chance of making money out of each investigation!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Judging the Case for War

Via DPF /

The Chicago Tribune has spent six weeks analyzing the nine reasons Bush gave for the war in Iraq

So the least I can do is do my 10 minute corrections!

Biological and chemical weapons

The administration used for information here to build a case for something that they seem to have already decided was the case. HOWEVER Sadam intentionally gave the impression he had weapons of this nature to the point of actually saying he had them. He then of course said that he did not but at an instant in time when he said he had them it would have been hard to argue against it.

Iraq rebuffs the world

Iraq was able to use the UN's impotence and a bit of money to neutralize any threat to his rule. And as the left was happy to tell everyone this status quo" was costing many lives.

The quest for nukes

The US intelligence community was mistaken (not in that he did not want nukes but that he was anywhere near getting them) - but their problem is this is how intelligence is regarding nuclear proliferation. Countries like Israel or India or Pakistani have the weapons almost before you notice and long before you can prove it. Preventing proliferation is a very difficult task - one doomed to a sort of failure.

Hussein's rope-a-dope
(Had Hussein not been deposed, would he have reconstituted deadly weaponry or shared it with terror groups?)

The answer to this depends on our assumptions - if you mean "if he was not bothered at all by the west what would he have done - the answer is obviously gas Kurds and Iranians. Because that is what he did do when he thought there were no repercussions.

If you mean what would he have done if the sanctions had continued or even if the US had declared "punishment enough - he might well not have done anything

1) For pragmatic reasons
2) To make the US look as bad as possible

I.e. both rely in part on the fact that the US MIGHT do what bush did.

there is a second question regarding whether even if that happened whether it would be hugely dangerous for example sadam hated the US BECAUSE it stood up to him and despite this he had no real ability to strike at the US and no ability to defend himself from retaliation.

Waging war on terror

They may have helped Israel fight hamas but probably achieved very little except to create a temporary lightning rod for terrorists in Iraq.

Reform in the Middle East

They probably are advancing democracy in Iraq but at a HUGE cost - one must wonder if their resources and credibility could not have been aimed more profitably at pushing for democracy in peripheral states pushing towards the centre - the same sorts of strategies that have worked for decades.

Iraq and Al Qaeda

No compelling evidence ties Iraq to AlQuaeda any more than any other similar country.

The Butcher of Baghdad

The White House assessments were accurate. Few if any war opponents have challenged this argument, or suggested that an unmolested Hussein would have eased his repression.

Iraqis liberated

As above - Iraq is becoming democratic - an unstable democracy but one that can indeed become long lasting. The counter argument of course is "democracy is not really very important (compared with disorder and lower life expectancy etc)

Road saftey

I my have explained hte high holdiay death toll.
Drive down the main highway from auckland (or just about any main highway) and I amsure you will see the signs on the side of the road "locals die too" and "friends dont mind if you are late" and of course hte usual "drive to survive" these wee all presumably marginally improvin hte driving of poeple moving along the moterway howevwer slightly less impressive were signs such as

"you can't fight fatigue" "you are gettin sleepy" "your eyes are closing" and "you are now dead". OK only the first one is true but that sort of argument seems to me likely to have exactly the opposite effect to what they want to achieve. You generally only see these things out of the side of your eyes and so it is a bit much to expect the majority of people to analize them. So subconciously all it does is make you sleepy.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

USA in the uncyclopedia

Vital information regarding anyone planning on touring the USA is available from this popular encyclopedia

The United States of America is a rogue commonwealth of the British Empire, peopled by sample farmers and labourers. The hallmark of American life is a powerful combination of borrowing, slacking and junk food. Americans claim that their nation is favoured by God, an allegation God vehemently denies.

America began its rogue status when it came to the realization that drunken gun slinging and tax evasion would make an compelling and provocative foundation for an independent nation.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


One point goes to instapundit As I expected it would.


Tim blair again gives some telling sacrasm regarding the exageration of some environmentalists.

In response to

"California is in danger of large-scale flooding, according to speakers – including former Vice President Al Gore – at a global warming presentation on Dec. 6 given at Stanford University.

Speakers at “The Heat is On” presented the crowd, which included a handful of Paly students, with data and predictions for the future. For instance, scientists expect a rise in sea level of 20 feet which will leave hundreds of millions of people homeless across the world."

he notes

"Homeless? They’ll be lucky to escape the incremental water level increase (if any) with their lives, as Dave S. explains: “Presumably the poor people will drown in their living rooms and huts after years of sloshing through ever-rising water to get to them, rather than, say, move a couple miles inland where the new coast is. Because if there’s one thing humans can’t do, it’s adapt.”"

In addition I am also pretty dubious about the 20 feet figure.

"Models project that sea levels will rise another 9 to 88 cm by the year 2100." ( fact sheet)
I'm not sure either 9 or 88cm is equal to 20 feet but maybe some expert in "american" can confirm that.

Reliability rating

We should create a news outlet / blog rating system
minus one point every time they make a post/story which reports as fact an incident that is not true (without stating that the story is in doubt)
In the case of the MAO book people like NoRightTurn, Daily Kos and so forh would seem to have lost a point.
Plus one point every time they argue against somthing that turns out to not be true.
I am not sure where to place reporting the story with a disclaimer that it may not be true - this might deserve a point also.

It's safe to do research without being monitored

File under "shout the fact wisper the rumor".

NoRightTurn has reported that the Homeland Security library story was a hoax

Basically a kid reported that the US government was spying on what books poeple readand had come to his house to give him a talking to. As it turns out it was all lie - but what is interesting is that it made its way around the world despite being entirely unverified.

I hope this results in more skeptisism next time.

But it wont...
Worse yet peopel will still be teling us about the rumor years from now as if it was fact.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I made the controversial statement that

“Drug growers are the level just below drug dealers in the morality chain."

In relation to drug growing new leader of Bolivia

At first that might seem surprising to some but the point is that each person has their place in a chain that results in what most people consider to be a bad outcome which is lets say coke babies and so forth. You could argue that cocaine has a good effect on society I guess but that would take a lot of arguing and surely even the peasant farmers don’t believe that.

But the grower is even worse than the dealer - The dealer is a bit like a person who gets into a fight and hits someone, they make money by selling drugs but all they have to do is go from a smuggler to a customer. The grower has to take a section of land plan the seeds and cultivate them and so forth - there is a massive amount of planning and labor going directly into making drug addicts and so forth. So the dealer is a bit more like a man who goes out and buys a gun and some ammo and stakes out the target and shoots him.

Further more if they don’t use their land for that purpose no one else will and they probably are not under physical threat to have to do so and so have less justification except the obvious reducing people’s life expectancy in exchange for money.

Morales (the new Bolivian leader) try to rebut this sort of argument saying “The place to eradicate coca is in the noses of those gringo sons of bitches!"

This is rather like a person who made a bomb saying - it’s not my fault if I sold it to terrorists! Or the place to stop the explosion is right in front of the victim! that may be true in as far as that is ONE place to stop it but the fact that someone else with great effort could stop something doesn’t relieve your responsibility to stop the same thing particularly if it is only a minor effort for you.

Further arguments are along the lines of
“However, I doubt the average peasant farmer wakes each morning relishing a new opportunity to kill gringo babies."

The problem here stems from one of two things that are being confused either
A) Intent with responsibility.
B) Understandability with innocence.

If it is A)
For example when a death occurs that is someone’s responsibility, for example lets say a mugger kills a person for their money, the people involved probably did not wake up thinking "I want to kill someone" they probably just thought "I am going to get some money whatever it takes"
The problem is in order to do things that would obviously result in deaths - rather similar to selling drugs. The fact killing you was a secondary aim is of pretty limited importance since it is basically ALWAYS a secondary aim.

B) The fact that I can UNDERSTAND that someone might want to kill you to take your money (maybe so they can put their kid through school) doesn’t mean I think it is a moral thing to do.

Further many claim that Coca leaves are medicinal. However this is all taken into account in the overall debate whether it is a bad thing or not. It is a bit like "machine guns are not dangerous by themselves and can used for (let's say) propping up tables" and yet I might restrict the sale of them because it seems the rational place to stop people shooting other people with loaded guns. Basically I have a goal
"Reducing the chances of people getting shot"
And a variety of possible methods of achieving that goal the best of which in this case seems to be
"Preventing the sale of machine guns"
Similarly might want to "reduce drug usage"
And since one can’t ban the concentrated form of the drug only (just add water to make legal) I ban it in all its forms.

Anyway - I suspect it is probably an inferior medicine for basically any condition. But it is a good cash crop for selling to drug dealers whether they sell it as leaves or as powder. As a result you have a large industry and a lot of users who have a vested interest in pretending it is "perfect".

And finally
"yourself, all other westerners and the corrupt political elite of Bolivia as also culpable for cocaine related deaths (culpable because they and our governments have all played a role in the process of keeping Bolivian peasant farmers poor and with limited employment choices)."

Such an argument has a much wider range of outcomes; this is because few of my actions have as a dominant predictable effect "drug growing in South America". And as long as it has an obscure effect there it is perfectly rational for me to focus on other things. If I was a drug grower it would have a pretty unambiguous effect on drug usage much less ambiguous than being a drug dealer even.

Where someone (lets say Helen Clarke or whoever) has made such decision that does indeed have as the primary predictable result drug growth in sth America you might have a point. But your statement seems a bit vague.

Anyway just for interest
"Coca growers earn up to four times
The income of campesinos producing legal crops, and the Chapare is the most prosperous rural region in Bolivia."

Interesting eh?

"Most drug dealers (inner city) make less than 300 week, and have a second or third job to support themselves. Drug dealers work long hours under dangerous conditions. “(For comparison minimum wage in the US is only about 220 or so)

Saturday, December 17, 2005


No right turn notes that the US is spying on what books US students borrow

All i can think is what a massive waste of agents! sure the kid might have wanted to read about Mao but surely the agents have better things to do - like how about spying on big businessmen (to keep them in the nations pocket) and blackmailing renegade politicians?

They really need to get more focused on their evil plans or people are going to start thinking they are incompetent.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The 12 days of christmas

The 12 days of christmas will cost around USD $72,600 this year if you are an american.
I suggest maybe a bit less in NZ due to the lower cost of maids pipers and drummers although the lords might be hard to find.

Performance based pay

The ministers have jsut got another pay rise - quite a bit it seems so why a pay rise? well er inflation and er a tip on top.

But that doesnt seem to explain why the salary is 120 k or 200 k or anything it is really jsut politics deciding it. Apparently the current system is a bit week so what can we do?

Should we have performance based pay for ministers?

Sure governments are not entirely responsible for economic growth but they may only be 10% responsible but it still makes some sense at that level.
You get what you pay for/measure and at the moment we are measuring a mixture of inflation and the ability to convince some group of people to pay you more for no apparent reason.

Maybe the government should just have a budget as a whole for these sort of things and have to work within it and allocate the funds by some sort of performance. (ok I can already see problems but It is jsut a starting suggestion).

Riots in Sydney

It seems to me commentators from both sides are guilty of the same thing here.

People on the right at times are resorting to complaining aobut lebanese - usually specifically lebanese gangs without noting that the surfer gangs are also a problem and not jsut an effect of the lebanese gangs. And peopel on the left are making the even worse generalization that the actions of surfer gangs and so forth define the attitudes of australians.

For example if it is true that lebanese are the problem then it is reasonable for a lebanese person to react rather badly to the fact that they are "the problem" and if white australians are seen as racist it is natural for them to be a bit concerned about the fact that the person saying that is being racist towards them.

The point is that one needs to remove themselves from this sort of analysis and need to develop some policies to make the situation better as opposed to starting a blame game.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

controling inflation

The government sems to focus only on controlling inflation and currency using interest rates and low government spending - why doesnt it use one of its other tools.

1) the cullen fund - aparently telecom has been threatening the government that it should be nice to them and not unbundel the local loop or it will cost the money in terms of the cullen fund. So why doesnt the NZ government take advantage of its ability to think long term and move money out of NZ.
this will achieve a number of things
A) lower the demand for NZ dollars pushing the value down and helping exporters
B) reduce the policy distorting effect of owning to many shares in telecom

Another interesting thing is property investment
they could buy property it doesnt take too much brainpower to do simple land investment and it will give some control over house prices and ability to lower inflation.

they could use these methods to draw money out of the economy as required.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mission survey

What a bunch of out of touch people the city mission and NZ herald must be.

Apparently the survey finds that
1) The furthest many children regularly travel is to the Otara town centre.
Many have never been over the Harbor Bridge.
2) Less than half are even aware of when their birthdays are
3) Schools regularly have to feed hungry children.

Now I lived in a fairly upper middle class family but thinking back -
1) I almost never went as far as the Otara town centre I cant remember going over the harbor bridge. Why? Well what would I do there? I had no good reason to do it if I had it would have cost about 5 dollars - something anyone can afford - but it wasn't worth 5 dollars to me strange to hear that it is a sign of wealth.
2) Less than half are even aware of when their birthdays are. Apparently this is supposed to be to do with parents being too poor to celebrate the birthdays. This makes me wonder if we shouldn't just take their children off them now for their own good. How terrible a parent do you have to be to not know how to celebrate a birthday without spending money?
3) Now this is a little more serious - it implies the parents are not giving their children food (gross negligence) OR the family makes less than about 5 dollars a day - because quite frankly feeding your kids should be the NO.1. Priority - there is no expenditure I can think of that comes above it.

That aside I did go hungry at school quite often - usually my own fault, I am a but absent minded I'm afraid. So nice of the teachers to provide food - a good community service.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

minimum wage busters

One thing really gets on my nerves and that is if you look around Auckland there are many businesses full of foreign (often Asian) workers being employed under the table for less than minimum wage. Not in NZ eh?
Well you are wrong; I know a number of people who have been employed for let’s say $40 a day for 10 hour days or similar. Classic examples are the food courts you see in town and the Thai restaurants (by the way I have nothing against the workers, as you will see later - they are one of the victims). Now there are a number of losers from this policy.

1) Honest law abiding businesses that pay their workers a decent wage - these businesses pay their workers 10-15 dollars an hour and ensure they are all legal etc but how are they supposed to compete with the person paying their workers 4 dollars an hour and no tax?

2) The workers - they are being paid a lot les than they should be being paid because they are controlled by the owners of the businesses and don’t realise what the rules are and what their opportunities are.

a second part of this is the fact that NZ businesses are very risk adverse when it comes to hiring people they turn down many well qualified foreigners just like they turn down many students without experience and thus they create unemployed demographics. This means that the businesses are not entirely lying when they say it is hard to find work elsewhere even if the workers are legal.

3) The law itself - such flagrant breaches of our law should not be allowed to become a part of normal business practice but it is absolutely rampant in Auckland - one has to wonder if the authorities know and don’t care or even worse are totally oblivious.

4) Legal workers who are wages are forced down by the competition from these workers.

5) the government - it gets no tax. these businesses are probably cheating the tax department on multiple fronts. And remember tax dishonest men don't pay is just money some honest men have to cough up later.

What is the solution?

Allow EVERYONE to work if they are in NZ - If you deny these people work
They will probably work anyway but even if they don’t all you are achieving is to force a person who would probably have earnt and spent their money in NZ, to be idle.
As it is students are allowed to work a certain number of hours but many don’t fully understand that or do and still need more money. Then the businessmen will have no hold over these people. All you will need then is some advertising and a few well publicised raids.

NZ universities

So you always wondered why ivory tower academics were so—well ivory towerish?

New Zealand Universities (and probably universities all around the world) have fallen into a poor state. One of the key problems is the way that incentives have been built. And this is related to the union type structure of the universities that allows them to pursue their own aims as opposed to the aims of those who pay them. Worse yet this does not help them as anyone can tell you the competition between professors has reduced academia to a disgusting environment of political backstabbing.

The details:

The key incentive for a lecturer at university is publication of articles - this is what gets him hired and what buys him influence in a department.

In New Zealand this is taken to an extreme because in competing with foreign universities that can pay more New Zealand offers huge amounts of time off to write articles, that way the university can claim the professor's name and use it to advertise how good they are. Now this might make sense if those articles were valued for their contribution to the country (the place that is paying their salary) but that is not the case they are instead valued for their ability to be published a complex combination of their networks with other authors overseas (getting a co authorship with a famous author greatly increases your chances as does having the support of someone on an editorial board) AND the degree to which your article is novel. The latter sounds like it is a good idea but in reality it leaves many academics studying things that have no practical benefit at all. For example I know of academics who take a tautological model with no value outside of theory and force it onto various different situations again and again.

Finally there are the restrictions of academic research that discourage people from just going out and answering the questions that need to be answered because it is easier to publish something that is deeply enmeshed in what has already been written, this also results in an incredible inertia in academia and a lack of pragmatism that leaves it often lagging far behind the actual real world practice of the thing it is studying - constantly trying to catch up.

Much better is the work done in schools like engineering where people study cancer therapy and other such things in conjunction with business. When I bring this up often people complain about academic freedom but actually academic freedom has already been compromised by the system and at least as far as students are concerned I know most actually WANT to do something practical but time and time again they are told that they cannot that it wont get published and it wont get good marks.

Other people compromise their project in order to fit it into the confines of the academic degree, I for example in a brainstorming session worked out a better way to perform a type of cancer therapy, but it would have complicated the experiment and you don’t get marked for how valuable it is you get marked for how well it is written. So the idea was discarded.

In my experience the best teachers were also some of the worst at publishing and some of the worst teachers were the best at publishing anyway (although that too is probably effected by the system).

I sugest a total restructuring of the wy universities work and their incentive structures a break point from this counter productive system we have created.

The dream of home ownership

The dream is slowly slippin away for many New Zealanders - but why?

a key reason is the benefits of owning a property. sound strange?

Well the fact is that there are quite large tax benefits to owning property in NZ what that does is makes it far more attractive for investors to buy property, and so they do that means that there are more people effectively on the market for property price goes up and investors outbid first time home owners. Prices sky rocket. If there were financial DIS-incentives for home ownership that would allow prices to come down it would discourage people from owning multiple properties and that would solve the problem

The solution is of course a capital gains tax in fact a very heavy capital gains tax to disproportionately discourage investment in property and thus free it up for those who do not buy houses to make money thy buy them to live in them and make improvements for their own lifestyle not some generic one.

market fluctuations also hurt in that they tend to punish normal home owners and reward savvy investors, because they have more flexibility.

Renting gives one greater freedom to move and makes one more conscious of the efficient use of a certain space, The disadvantages are inefficiencies to communications between landlord and tenants (e.g. regarding improvements) the unfair tax system that gives capital gains without tax and the psychological effect of owning a house "because it is the kiwi dream".

judicial system

Personally I think a more inquisitorial system of justice should be, in theory, better than the adversarial system. I think that the adversarial system has created a system where a particularly wealthy defendant is impossible to convict. As I have mentioned before if OJ and Milosevic can win or get even close to winning a trial then basically everyone is not guilty. Judges in theory should be able to provide a higher standard of expertise to solving of issues than juries could they also should be able to reach these conclusions faster and more efficiently.

Even in the civil cases the government should stand between the accuser and the defendant. In the USA in particular and to a lesser extend elsewhere, if someone commits a crime against you the degree to which you will be compensated depends on how much money they have. This is a stupid system because it creates inequity in the very act of trying to restore equity.

It is easy to separate the two systems - instead of taking money from the criminal and giving it to the victim you should just pay the victim a fixed amount depending on what it takes to generally restore them and then you charge the offender whatever you think it takes to discourage him from doing it again or to achieve whatever other objectives the punishment might achieve. The difference may be a profit given to the state or a loss. If you wish to encourage prosecutions you may make this new payment dependant on the discovery of an offender but it should NOT be dependant on their wealth as if an act of malpractice by a rich doctor is somehow more devastating than the same act by a doctor who gambled away most of his money.

Another thing I have a problem with is insurance against being sued. The system declares that there is a disincentive required to prevent people from doing certain negligent things, this is presumably to make them pay attention. that incentive is (or at least should be) set at a certain level so that people will take care and yet will not be scared away from a productive industry e.g. medicine). But insurance changes that balance AND creates inefficiency. If the laws are too harsh then they should be softer not insured against.

If they should he harsher the insurance may compromise the objectives of the negligence laws. The current USA (and other countries) system seems designed to compromise both the aid to the victim and the punishment of the offender by mixing them up. Most doctors take insurance because they think it is something to a large extent out of their control and if that is indeed the case then the punishment is either excessive or too readily given out (in the absence of insurance). For example why should a doctor be held responsible for a bad operation until proven innocent? He may be the most likely person at fault but you should still have to meet some minimum standards of proof just like with any other "crime". Either it is right the standard should be low and so it should be low for everyone or it is right it should be high and therefore high for everyone.

If someone sues for damages because of a blotched operation the offender should be equally discouraged from botching the operation no matter what insurance or money he might have.


GP's complain about extra paperwork and to much work for their salaries.
reducing paper work is a good idea but overal there is only one solution - the same as I have advocated for the last couple of years here - to reduce our reliance on GP's and to break their monopoly.

The movement towards allowing nurses to perscribe drugs is a good first step - how moronic is it for me to have to ask a doctor to do the simpilest piece of diagnosis on me?

There are many occasions when I go to see the doctor when I already know what I have - in fact I can describe it in great detail to the doctor and yet I still end up paying them for a consultation at a VERY high rate for just a few minutes.

The basic point is that I don’t need a person with a 12 year doctor’s degree to give me a simple diagnosis a person with 8 years would be fine and at times a person with a 6mth course would be adequate. The same will be true in the vast majority of function of a doctor and such a system diverts talent towards less productive uses as well as creating a "get a degree and wait for the money to roll in" part of society. The problem of course is that there is an effective "doctors union" that would oppose such a splitting up of activities.

So why dont poepel just start up busiensses as sickness analysts? well
1) they can't perscribe drugs or do various other things and are more exposed to being in trouble with the law.
2) They lack the systems to ensure they are compitent.

Generally - the same reasons as any monopoly You can set up a telecom company and anyone who wants to use you instead of Vodafone can. Of course no one will because the system won’t allow you to operate properly and you will never gain the confidence of the market.

Any profession that was to take up part of the role of doctor would have to have universities and government backing it up because otherwise people would (with good reason) not trust it or the government would cripple its ability to operate - those people also need rules to make them accountable to modern medicine to prevent them from becoming natural "health practitioners". But none of that requires them to go through a full service 6 year training.

If we don't whant that they could also increase the output of doctors to force supply closer to demand by allowing more people into the medical schools. And in the end result in better (more focused) and cheaper care.

Obviously simple things like GP check ups would take just a 1 year course (and updates on current medicines and diseases) more complicated parts such as being the doctor who accepts the patients those doctors cannot diagnose or who perform other tasks might require more time.

Free Speech

Regarding free speech - I wonder how many people would agree with these actions

The first is Darwin and his friends and how they maintained their stranglehold on academic journals and thus on "authority".
Randal Keynes writes

[Darwin] collected every review; he did all he could to identify each author; and he then wrote letter after letter in a ceaseless private effort to influence opinion. Browne's account of Victorian science is an enthralling story of intellectual gang warfare, of clashes in the 'Reviews', of cliques and stitch-ups, in which victory went eventually not to truth but to a new power wielded by Darwin's supporters. Their 'X Club' which met privately for thirty years, was a palpable force in the history of ideas.

Were they right to do so because they were right?

If you oppose that then how about our second theory.

A century ago and continuing today serious research into racial superiority was purged from much of academia and thus the credible academic record. It periodically pops its head up again for example in regards to :the bell curve" but each time it is beaten back by a barrage of criticism which is often very loosely based on facts even in academia (this is just what happens when people attack something because they hate it not just because they think it is wrong).

Now neither of these things are created just by the government but in reality does it matter whether it is the academic comunity controling society (and thus the democratic government) or the government controling academia and thus society.

Both were probably, on the whole, good things (even if not 100% successful) but the methods by which they were achieved were the opression of free speach. There is a danger here that I might be misinterpreted here so I note that I am just observing a dilemma rather than arguing against free speech or, egad, arguing for creationism or racism). It is just that I learnt long ago that the world is not entirely fair.

It is possible for someone to dispute my definition of free speach. And there is certainly an issue here afterall they did not throw the creationists in jail. But I will wait for the comments to see what you think.


Interpreting a Constitution [or other law] as it was intended when it was written is superior to judge made law of activist judges. It is really a subversion of the political system to allow judges to make law as opposed to the politicians.

I generally hold old law in lower esteem than new law because new law represents the current people's will (more so than a constitution does) AND law from more than a few decades ago is likely to be founded on a racist and otherwise far from perfect world. But it defeats the purpose of a constitution if all it does is passes the power of arbitrary law making on key issues into the hands of a different set of individuals. You might as well just give the power to the beurocrats in the executive.


To me the key problem in regard to Israel is that people are being killed. Nothing else matters much.

Firstly I believe that race is not a meaningful grouping and in fact any attempt to group people in such a way should be strongly dissuaded. Thus I think it is meaningless to talk of a treaty between "Maori" and "pakeha". And in as far as it give one group more rights than another group as a result of something their ancestors did, it is the same as any other sort of racism. Similarly there is no birth right to Israel for the Jews nor is there any birth right to Israel for the Palestinians NO MATTER what their parents did be it incredibly evil or incredibly righteous.

Since everyone is the product of their environment it is absolutely true that those who are poor have been disadvantaged and those who are rich have been advantaged by definition - it is thus ridiculous to focus on a single act that disadvantaged a race (ignoring any other) and try to right it - these differences are things to be dealt with through ordinary social policy (if they are dealt with at all) not counter benefits.

Similarly a Jew in Palestine could be considered a thief ONLY if you can prove he personally stole something, just like an Arab in Israel is only a terrorist if he personally is blowing people up. In theory there should be nothing to stop anyone from any race living anywhere. Unfortunately in the Middle East decades of violence have proven that this ideal world does not exist there. So the next question is how to solve it.

Well each side hates the other for killing their people, so one side kills the other then the other retaliates and the other retaliates for the retaliation - how can you stop that circle? Well there is only one way - you stop at least one side from being able to retaliate. The best way to do this seems to be to separate both sides possibly with a BIG wall. Then after time the memory of the last killing will be less present in each of their minds.

But this requires separating the people and since they are living somewhat together it requires some of them to be moved. This of course is a bad thing (it is ethnic cleansing after all) so it must be minimized - the only way to do that is to redraw the border so the least number of people have to be moved in order to have two reasonably shaped states with basically all the people who want to be Israelis on one side and all the people who want to be Palestinian on the other.

Fundamentally I believe that people should not have attachments to particular pieces of land because no land (in itself - I know land can grow food etc but you get my point) is so special as to be worth a man's life. Thus it does not matter where the border is drawn from a moral point of view.

Things that are missing from this solution include the right of return - this should never happen because it carries the racial right to land with it and supports a model of perpetual statelessness and a community brainwashed into suffering for a meaningless cause. Since after all it is the same sort of religious belief in their "ownership" of the land that causes these two groups to fight for so long far beyond the point where most people would be forced by reality to rest. It seems that many people overseas feel that the Palestinians and Israelis can fight by proxy some sort of moral battle for them either fighting for a religion or fighting for indigenous rights or some sort of fight against evil whatever - and thus they support those who would refuse to let them leave the cycle of violence. Worst of all it is just not practical.

There is no point in trying to teach a lesson to the Israelis or the world by forcing Israel back to what it looked like 40 years ago or 60 years ago or 100 years ago. We are not planning on forcing other countries back to some arbitrary moment in history (e.g. Russia in 1600 lets say). None of these times has much more significant than any of the others EXCEPT for 2005 - as in NOW. To accept 1967 or any other time is to arbitrarily accept the jurisdiction of some diplomats from a particular time over practicality - I find it ridiculous to suggest the former should dominate. It might turn out 1967 border is the one that it ends up at but I see no moral reason why that should be the case.

If anything I do lean towards the Israelis side not because of religion but because all things being equal I support the side that seems to have the best solution from a utilitarian point of view.

As imperfect as Israel is if the west bank and Gaza became identical to Israel their standard of living would rise. If Israel was converted into a Gaza strip or a Jordan its standards would fall. Some might say that is because of what Israel has done - well from a pragmatic point of view that does not matter. If a country is ruled by terrorists or human rights abusers there will always be a REASON why that is - but you or I knowing that reason doesn’t change their leadership at all. Just like if Hitler was mistreated as a kid or not has no bearing on whether he needed to be stopped.

If Israel stops running incursions into Palestine (or at least takes a pragmatic as opposed ot vengeful attitude towards them) Palestine may be able to develop better leaders and the same is true for Israel in regard to terrorism, when Palestine has a good leadership and makes a serious attempt to slow terrorism a dovish president will be electable (see how their actions killed Barak's chances against Sharon).

I suggest the world would be a better place if we looked more for solutions rather than being totally uncompromising on ideology.


In politics today the ultimate insult seems to be hypocrisy. I guess it is the triumph of relativism.

I think Hypocrisy is FAR from the worst thing you can do. For example if you made a mistake once that is no excuse for you to continue making the same mistake. And if you know you would make the wrong decision in a certain situation that is no reason to argue that that is instead the right decision.

For example if the US created Sadam (maybe they did) that is no reason to support him now that we know he gassed Kurds and so forth. If it is hypocritical then hypocrisy is better than flat out evil. Similarly just because you deny human rights to one person (for whatever reason) is no decent argument to deny them to everyone. Treating that man with human rights in mind is the BEST solution but hypocrisy is second best and a VERY distant third is denying everyone those rights.

Since various goals constantly conflict with each other (and people mostly behave based on habit) everyone must be hypocritical on various issues to function in the world

A classic example is the bridge controller where his son is stuck under the bridge and will be killed if it is lowered but the people on the train will die if he does not lower it.

The RIGHT answer is that he should lower the bridge and save 100 passengers instead of one son. The decision many people would make is to save their son and let the other people die. But no matter what the average person would do it makes no difference to which is Right or what should be encouraged.

If "but I would do the same thing in the same situation" was an excuse then no one would ever be guilty of anything because you WOULD do the same thing in exactly the same situation. what matters i what we can do to encourage reasonable people (such as ourselves) to behave in a reasonable manner even when under stress (for example not hitting a person just because we are angry because we don't want to go to jail).

Everyone is the result of their experiences - so this is both an excuse for everything and proof that there is no excuse for anything.

Free trade

Why am I for free trade?

Well I see two obvious options

1) No human is allowed to trade with any other human
2) Everyone is allowed to trade with everyone else

The second of those appears to be better than the other from a practical point of view AND it involves freedom of choice. Now if I want to say there is an exception I would want to know EXACTLY why it is an exception to that principle.

Usually the argument is :"lets save US jobs and not let those jobs go to those Indians and Chinese (or new Zealanders)" forgive me if that argument does not convince me of anything except that the person in question is at best selfish and at worst racist (probably more the former than the latter).

The next question is why are we dividing people up by country in this regard? Imagine of you cut new york in half putting hte poor largely black areas on one side and the richer white areas on the other and prevented them from trading with each other - you would probably cause huge harm to both sides - worst of all the poor side.

Trade may well involve an absolute or a relative loss for one side but it almost always is an absolute gain for the collective - if that is not the case it is something other than "trade" that is the problem.

For example if you complain about the rich getting richer your problem is really with the taxation system not with "trade". If you complain about the "race to the bottom" your problem is with international treaties and governance in general.

Many people would say "china has low working standards therefore its products are cheaper therefore we should prevent outsourcing"
Well if that is the case then you would presumably pass a law that achieves EXACTLY what you are suggesting here - basically a tariff against countries that have low standards measured against an arbitrary scale or whatever but actually what seems to be being advocated is just blanket protection even against countries that probably have HIGHER standards because it is selfishness not principle that is driving this.

I have "some" sympathy towards governments having more restrictive policies towards countries with lower human rights or countries that "misbehave" but the person/country doing that should have to explain EXACTLY why and be honest about it.


Is being gay genetic or learnt or a choice?

Well first the genetic approach - are there any genetically different groups that have a much higher rate of homosexuality? Well the first example would be Bonobo chimpanzees

The bonobo, an African ape closely related to humans, has an even bigger sexual appetite. Studies suggest 75 percent of bonobo sex is nonreproductive and that nearly all bonobos are bisexual. Frans de Waal, author of Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, calls the species a "make love, not war" primate. He believes bonobos use sex to resolve conflicts between individuals.

The fact that possibly the animal most similar to a human is be "bisexual" makes the question "why are humans NOT bisexual". And low and behold a reasonable proportion if us are. Surely Not ALL the bonobos are "choosing" to be gay that would defy probability. similarly they could have learnt the behaviour but an entire species learning the same thing? Probably not.

Thus we can say being gay is partly genetic. There almost certainly is something one could term a "gay gene" (not that genes work exactly like that) that bonobos have and chimpanzees don’t have - or have less of. This is quite possibly a gene that humans just have "some of".

But is it partly a choice? Well there are many people in the world who abstain from sex entirely, in particular certain monks or so at least some of you can relate - people who have sex only with one partner - either way it involves self denial of urges. A potentially gay person could thus deny their urges in the same manner if they wished and thus still have gay tendencies (genetics) but not gay practices (habits).

Is gayness learnt or environmentally determined? Well it is obvious that environment can change behaviour regarding sex. for example the existence of sexual images in the media has made the public a bit more sexual - similarly people who were abused when children or who had certain experiences do seem to behave differently. Similarly a person surrounded by opportunities to cheat on their partner (with someone of the same sex or different sex) is more likely to do so than someone who is hardly ever surrounded by such opportunities - this explains the relative short life span of a Hollywood marriage.

Obviously society can make being gay less acceptable and many gay people will know about meeting a girl and getting married in an effort to try to be straight. For some people (particularly those who would consider themselves bisexual all things being equal) that might be enough to make them never try homosexuality.

So in conclusion it is a bit of both BUT in a country wide scale I would have to say it is the first effect that is dominant in explaining the percentage of humans that are gay for this not to be the case we would have to see quite large fluctuations in the absolute number of active homosexual people over time. And yet there does appear to be differences in the number of gay people between Asia and the rest of the world (it being lower in much of Asia). this may be cultural but culture creates genetics anyway. Don’t agree/ well they did a study with foxes and showed that they could change behaviour over a few generations.

Studies on foxes selected over 20 generations for tameness by a group of Soviet biologists showed that over successive generations the foxes gradually began to sound more and more like dogs (cited in Coppinger & Feinstein, 1991).
20 generations is about 400 years only a fraction of the time each of the human races have been separated. Now being bisexual is something generally present already in the community so it would be relatively easy to imagine a situation where being bisexual increased your survival chances. Being gay may be an unintended overdose of the same traits rather like occurs with sickle cell anaemia.

The 3rd effects however allow certain cultures (as opposed to races) to have a somewhat higher level of homosexual activity than others ,and the 2nd effect relates to whether bisexual people act straight or gay or if gay people become largely inactive sexually.

Having said all of that it is probably a complex gene combination (as I hinted before genes work in relation to many other genes) - what that means is that a person who is gay need not have "gay" children and may only have a small increace in that likelihood, they also will not always bring up "gay" children (although again I expect a slight increace in the chances).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Climate change

So they got all excited about the progress made by the climate talks.
Apparently they will renew Kyoto and have chat with the US about what to do next - now they can just go home and put their feet up (sarcasm) .

What irritated me in part is that usually when I hear the US talking about climate change I hear things like "it isn't fair" or "pollution will just be diverted" but the impression I got from the ambassador this time was there will be no targets - non negotiable..

Now I agree that you don’t have to sign up to targets in order to save the environment and that Kyoto could be considered unfair or ineffective but those arguments are neutered if your response is "even if it was perfectly fair we wouldn't sign up".

At least china and india offer to try to reduce emissions (even if we dont believe they will suceed)

Under Saturday's nonbinding agreement, however, China and India pledged to pursue voluntary emissions reductions.

USA should at least offer the same. I dont think this is the right way to aproach it but there is a difference between saying it is a stupid treaty and generally trying not to even be part of the debate.

NZ sport

What a fantastic few weeks in NZ sport

We have the good the very good and the absolutely outstanding
And if Michael Campbell wins the target championship I will reserve one more word legendary
Who would have thought that I would end up having to rank getting a grand slam as only the third or fourth best sporting moment! But a world record run chase an unbelievable historic thrashing of the world champions at league have to rank higher.

Also congradulations to Australia on the soccer - it will be good to see them back in the world cup. And it gives the Kings (er I mean knights) us an excuse for being slaughtered in the australian competition.

UN judges human rights

congradulations to NZ, Poland, Botswana, Solvenia and the Congo for having the best huiman rights of any decent sized country.

Shame however on Israel for being twice as bad as Sudan 3 times as bad as DR Congo USA and the ivory coast and 6 times as bad as China and sierra leone.

I also note with interest that Canada is apparently worse than Zimbabwae and Nth Korea.


The UN needs to leave its gloating and victors rewriting of history untill AFTER it wipes israel from the face of the earth.

And if the UN is going to make calls for israel to withdraw from various pieces of land in the middle east it beter have some idea how it is going to back up its threats.

I am also happy for once the US id not block one of these resolutions
A) it makes the US look bad to defend israel just because israel is better than the other state (in this case syria).
B) the more the UN is exposed as being totally unable to back up its words with actions the better.

It is better to see the UN fromt up to reality as opposed to being a talk shop sheltered by various large countries.

What does "ought" mean?

When someone says you "ought to" do something - what does that mean?
It appears to be an incomplete sentence in that ought to should be accompanied by "or else" rather like "either X or." makes no sense

I suggest it by default means the following

"Or else I will not approval of your actions"
Or "you will be the subject of my disapproval"

And one can extrapolate any further meaning from your knowledge of the person saying it and how they care about the topic and whether you think their approval is worth anything and whether it signifies anything.

You don’t even have to find out about the event of course.

For example there are cases where I might say - "you out to be nice to your pet dog" but since I don’t know you I will never find out if you hurt it. BUT my purpose is to make you think of my disapproval and feel it (despite the fact I am not feeling it myself) if you try to hurt the dog.

Tookie Williams

Here is somthign from the mother of the victim

I think this whole case point's out the stupidity of the death penalty system in the USA

A man is put in jail for 26 years and THEN they decide to execute him. As I have said before, I might support hte death penalty in some cases (although I can't think of many) but for this case we had one man who went to jail 26 years ago and we can asume he was guilty - however we decided not to kill him, 26 years later we decide he has become significantly more evil that he now requires death? I find that hard to believe - in fact it apears the opposite is true - over the last 26 years he has ceased to be the same person - he can probably hardly remember a life before jail and he probably shares little with the man who went to jail.

Furthermore it has largely destroyed the deterant aspect since the sentance is so far removed from thecrime - who as a young gangster even thinks of living at the age of 50?

The killing only seems to serve one of the laws purposes and this is the worst one of all - revenge.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Capitalism bad tree pretty looks at pornography
She quotes a znet article which says

As leftists, we reject the sexism and racism that saturates contemporary mass-marketed pornography. As leftists, we reject the capitalist commodification of one of the most basic aspects of our humanity. As leftists, we reject corporate domination of media and culture.

CBTP is a bit more moderate stating

I would fully support that part of the McKinnon-Dworkin ordinance that allowed women to sue producers of pornography on the grounds that its production was rape (and set a very low standard for them to be successful).

It seems the sort of society that would prevent a woman from willingly posing naked or semi naked for a willing photographer in order to publish a magazine that will be viewed by and only by willing readers is a society that is very much the opposite of most modern leftist thinking and is clearly adding an additional thing to it's list of stuff women are not allowed to do (but potentially men are).

I admit I can see some value in it - but it comes a little down the list from things like preventing youth from gathering in potentially threatening groups in public places (or having low barriers to allowing members to sue other members for peer pressure).


We have a surplus posibly approaching $10 billion dollars accordign to DPF - how could one possibly support such a large amount of money going to the government?

Well - let us compare this to a bar tab.

You (the public) are paying for your drinks. At the moment you are a few hundred dollars behind on your tab and the bar is hoping to get that down. they have let you run the tab a bit because you were a little short of cash and your a good customer but now you clearly have a bit to spare and they are asking you to pay a little more than the cost of your next beer next time you come in.

You then jump up and down complaining that you are now paying more than the cost of a beer.

(Or if you like a home loan where the bank is asking for you to pay more than the interest.)

Now there is a separate issue in regard to the government spending money irresponsibly OR if they repay the debt and then keep taking money off you or if we deem them to have to many assets and if we declare that someone else has been using your tab but besides those issues it doesn’t matter if they take a little more money and put it against your tab.

the things I would suggest that control whether you should run a surplus are

1) cyclical factors/fairness it is fairer to tax high during better economic times - because it helps a little to make the return on effort more equal

2) inflation - related to the above - it is smarter to save money as a government when inflation is high and interest rates are going up because it will help to cool the economy.

3) value for money - When there are few opportunities to spend money effectively (this is related to chance but also if hte economy is running hot everythign will be more expensive so you will have to tax more to do the same amount of work (imagine having a big public hosuing project going on now with such high land prices!).

4) international effects - what are your neighbours doing with their tax rates and how can you best leach of their economy in order to benefit your own. Sometimes it will just be a matter of having a very slightly lower tax rate in critical areas - other times it may be that you just dont want it to be enough higher that it is worth it for your companies to go overseas.

5) Political feasibility - it is easy to run a defecit and hard to run a surplus - you might have to run a surplus just because you dont trust anyone else to do it - or because there is an easy way to push throug a new tax or cut old spending. Also taxes on undesirable things like smoking or speeding may also be "free money" if they gain revenue but prevent anti-social behaviour.

tax and growth

Kiwipundit points out an article showing that high tax rates cause low GDP growth.

I am concerned however that this is for the joint economic committee in the USA and not really an academic paper. The problem is not that he has gotten the statistics wrong but instead that he is comparing the wrong things and not considering relevant differences. Because the literature as point seems to say there is no clear relationship and yet he is able to find a very clear one we are left considering
Why - in particular why his particular use of the term expenditure is appropriate.

He includes quiet a wide definition of public expenditure and measures it directly with GDP he then seems to imply that the tool growth rates of countries over various periods as different data points. To show how this might be problematic look below.

Imagine two countries -
A is in a poor economic situation or long cycle - they have low GDP growth and yet a growth in the cost of government services. They cut back on various things (pushing the country further into recession) but they don’t have the political power to cut it back to the huge degree required to keep their expenditure gdp constant particularly considering the rise in interest on loans as their dollar drops.

B (the second country) has good growth rates and a good govt - it is careful with spending in its overheating economy (because that would cause inflation) and as GDP grows spending reduces as a percentage of that GDP.

From a differnt point ofview there are of course many more ways to stupidly mis manage an economy than to get it right - ie there could be a "right" way to have high expenditure and yet on average spending a lot look bad due to to many stupid leaders.

Thus the data supports his theory but low tax/gdp might be an effect as opposed to a cause. I.e. dropping tax rates might not change the situation or countries may not do that just because it would be a bad idea in their situation.

Also I note from the other graphs in the presentation the graphs are massively distorted by places like Luxembourg and Ireland and other small countries as well as an uneven balance of developing and developed countries etc. for example the fact that eastern Europe grows fast from a low baize might be more an insult to communism than a compliment to low taxes or even worse it might be a comment on EU subsidies policies.


Having read the reviews it is just as I feared - it looks like Narnia is a movie that will only really appeal to children.

the debate over whether the movie is christian or not doesn't matter to me in that mpovies like the matrix also had religious concepts filtered through them and many movies have references to the american revolution or whatever sprinkled through them. But movies that target children too much drive me mad. the worst are where thee is some little kid who is ridiculously lucky and kid like but at the same time always proven right or to be the best.

I guess Narnia could hardly resist the urge to do that.

What other books are there that could be made into epic movies?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


The foreshore bill is a bit strange.

It states

"That decision recognised the possibility that Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 would lead to private ownership of the foreshore and seabed"

One owuld think from this that it should not want public ownership of private foreshore. However it excludes "registered under the Land Transfer Act 1952". why? well I guess they jut didnt want to fight that fight right now. But I note that the law basically states that the very idea of private ownership is justification for legislation. It can prevent new ownership or hte converson of ambiguous rights to freehold ownership but to remove freehold ownership would be a tougher political battle.

But the implication is htat hte next stepshould be to confirm that the foreshore is not "ownable" surely?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Show trials

Redfish looks at the trial Of Saddam.

I think this is another good time to point out that as much as such trials sound like a good idea, sound fair to the war criminal and seem like they would tell the world exactly what they did - I think they are actually a VERY bad idea.

The problem is that a decent defense should be able to do something between defeating a charge of "crimes against humanity" or drag the case until the accused are all dead of old age and thus beyond caring.

The first point is that these sorts of court cases disappear into little technicalities very easily. And these big crimes (war crimes etc) which we plan on convicting them of are quite vague and difficult to prove. Because it involves proving that the actions of some unrelated person that they may never have met were the intentional result of them. Furthermore there may well be hundreds of them - confusing any potential jury or even judge. Just think - how long will Milosevic’s trial go on and how can we be 100% sure he actually did anything? How sure were we that OJ Simpson was guilty and that he could back up his promise to find the guilty party? And yet after a long case he was found not guilty. What if a jury or judge says - we are 9% sure saddam is guilty but biased on the 1% we find him not guilty?

Furthermore it gives those people a platform in which to continue to make their points - a platform that is supposed to be biased in their favor to prevent them being incorrectly convicted.

If in any large scale trial the most evil people in the world will almost every time win it is an interesting lesson to teach the general public.

I suggest this leaves the following options -
1) As above
2) Do a show trial
3) Let them go
4) Charge them for something else (like theft maybe) [the al Capone strategy]

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ost half new immigrants on wananga course

Aside from any other courses Sage NZ does some calculations and comes to the conclusion (absense of any streching of the truth by the Wanange
"40% of all arrivals undertook Susan Cullens course for new immigrants."

Impresive eh?

National overspends

National has admitted they overspent their electoral broadcasting allocation by $112,500

It ma be a genuine mistake but a few things come to mind

1) This is not the sort of error you would expect business savvy national supporters to make (of course it includes GST!).

2) The $100,000 fine is a bargain. I suggest everyone overspend their budget next year if that’s all the threat is. If they overspend another 100,000 next election they could probably win and probably get it back a few thousand times over in terms of tax cuts to their members.

This leaves us with two options - they did it on purpose - and probably wone a seat or two extra as a result therefore distorting our democratic elections in NZ (regardless of whether you think it should be a rule or not it is a rule and one that is strongly influential on the outcome of elections)
They are conveniently incompetent from the people at the top (who should know whets going on) to the people who did the spending.

National deserves to be crucified for this.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Search terms

Kiwiblog is the target of some interesting search terms - so in a gratuitous attempt to get them to come here I will fufill all their search needs.

David farrar of kiwiblog and miss universe 2005 antartica went to the lipstick party with the gracchi brothers in luxembourg for the launch of harry potter book seven (now a bi more adult orientated) The book features his stag party involving police porn -- very funny pictures a police car and a condom and "lion sex" with a girl named jenna who has queef issues and enjoys la tomatina (tomato throwing fights).
Clearly hell on earth and more reasons to stay in iraq (and reasons to have sex) for good muslims on the left of the political compass (using the political spectrum test).

For any more info on David farrar and the new R18 harry potter book (the movies do seem to be growing older with harry) come here !

Do we sepend too much stopping terrorism?

No right Turn asks the question

I think the problem is the potential long term threat of terrorism.

1) I propose it is total, in as far as it could end human life one day (even though it is not that dangerous now) driving cars will never reach that point. this doesnt mean we overspend or dont overspend but it does mean terrorism can be considered much more serious than thecurrent number of deaths suggests.

2) Terrorism is to be feared in part because it is feared (as contadictory as that sounds). If someone droped a nuke in shanghai (or los angeles or whatever) - sure only 20 million might die, and sure that might be less than the amount of people who die of other causes in china that year, but your big problem is not that 20 million would die as a direct result of the blast - it is instead that China(or the USA) would go insane.No country could tolerate such an attack - in most cases democracy if it existed would be extinghished almost intantly as would any tolerance for reigemes that opposed them.

it is therefore in everyone's interests that the USA or China or anyone else is fairly careful about their vulnerability to terrorism.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Sagers approvingly suggests a bok caled anti-capitalism

The problems with alternatives to capitalism (after a quick browse)are slightly different to the usual ones.
1) it is no that they dont exist there are indeed alternatives and some of them are more in the NAZI vein where one does not alow interest on capital and encourages profit from work. Or hte communist vein where the state controls everything or any of a number of other systems.

2) it is also Not that they are not better (in terms of a snapshot in time). IF we had a system that rewards work over capital one swould expect it to be a much better meritocracy fairier and so forth.

BUT the big problem is that
1) they are unstable
If you dont reward capital then your country will probably sufer capital flight, If you have comunism you will probably encourage laziness etc In fact most other systems leak terribly when put next to capitalism in such a way as to be likely to fall apart.
the solution to this is very strong central government (to hold together a unstable reigeme) but most people would soon come to question if that answer is really "better".

2) that instability is reflected in unintended concequences.
There is a tendancy for capitalists to fill in the gaps that you leave with any other policy. Furthermore one must take steps one at a time as opposed to suddenly teleporting to the top. So you cant have a system that will result in you being crushed economically by the competing system - since then you will enver get off the ground. So a country that shares all its money with all the countries poorer than itself might be a good country but will soon be the poorest and weakest country in the world.

You cant start on the assumption that everyone will become entirely anti capitalist - it is just too unlikely as is any alternative to capitalism except maybe fascism.